For Immediate Release
Date: July 8, 2014
Contact: Dave Sunderland, VT Republicans Chair

VT REPUBLICANS COMMENT ON STATE’S FAILING GRADE FOR SMALL BUSINESS FRIENDLINESS

State’s Tax Code, Regulations and License Requirements Add Up to an ‘F’ Grade

Montpelier, VT – A highly respected national magazine has given Vermont an ‘F’ when it comes to encouraging small business.

The study by The Economist (Red Tape Blues, The Economist, July 5, 2014) included results of responses from thousands of employers from across the U.S. regarding the business friendliness of their states in the areas of tax code, regulations and licensing requirements.

As residents and taxpayers of a state with hundreds of recent job losses, a shrinking workforce, and a steadily worsening crisis of affordability, Vermonters expect their state leaders to be doing all they can to eliminate barriers to job creation — like making Vermont a better and more affordable place to start and grow your own small business. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Vermont earned a grade of ‘D’ in the area of tax code, ‘D’ in the area of regulation, and a score of 26% in the area of low-income occupations which require a license. Overall, this averages out as an ‘F’ grade for Vermont.

Interestingly, the study’s authors note it’s not just about taxes. They write, “Minnesota, a high-tax state, earns a respectable “B” for business climate, partly because it is easy to start a business there.” Not so in Vermont — where the process involves multiple, frequently unhelpful stops at a minimum of three government agencies — and that’s only if you don’t need a professional license or environmental permits.

The Shumlin administration and the Democrat supermajority in the Legislature have failed to propose a statewide, comprehensive economic development plan to deliver the economic opportunities and results Vermonters deserve.

Instead, they proposed and passed a state budget that increased state spending more than twice as fast as most Vermonters’ paychecks, enacted policies that have caused energy prices to skyrocket, defended a property tax system that is crippling working families and small businesses, and raised other taxes and fees on nearly everything from Vermont historic site tickets to beekeepers (Kyle Midura, New Vermont Laws Take Effect, WCAX.com, July 1, 2014)

“The Democrat supermajority in the Legislature and the Shumlin administration are knowingly ignoring the pleas of Vermonters and small businesses struggling under the burden of their tired and costly policies,” said Vermont Republican Chairman David Sunderland.

“What’s worse, left unchecked they will continue to protect these failed policies and special interest favors at the expense of Vermont’s struggling working families,” Sunderland continued.

“With the support of voters in November, Vermont Republicans will propose and pass legislation focused on supporting small businesses, creating more and better paying Vermont jobs, making Vermont more affordable, and reducing the property tax burden. This is the type of leadership Vermonters deserve. It’s time for balance in Montpelier. And it’s time for a change.”

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